October 10, 2019
Houston, Texas – postgame 5
Houston 6, Tampa Bay 1
Q. Congratulations, first of all. Before this game and even yesterday a lot of your teammates, AJ, they were saying how calm they were because it was you pitching tonight. Do you kind of have the same feeling with the way things have been going for you and the way you’ve been pitching every time you go out there, just know that you’re going to be okay or does an elimination game feel any different?
GERRIT COLE: Well, it’s a different game, for sure. But the preparation is the same. I feel good going out with the lineup and the defense and the bullpen that we have. So that’s what gives me confidence to put me in the zone and that’s what gives me confidence to prepare like I do.
Q. Gerrit, one of the keys it seemed to the game was the fact that you were really efficient, your pitch count was really low. When you got that double play in the seventh inning, did you feel like you might be able to go the distance? How were you feeling throughout having pitched such an efficient game?
GERRIT COLE: Yeah, I was feeling good. I wasn’t thinking about going the distance. I was pretty locked in. It was one pitch at a time.
We were shooting for the double play earlier in the inning with a couple other guys. I think that was the inning that Choi led off and d’Arnaud led off with the walk. We were shooting for the double play, trying to get the ball on the ground, pick some pitches that either got us a whiff or got us some contact on the ground to let the guys do what they were doing. They were so sharp all night, it’s hard not to trust them.
Q. Gerrit, given how tense this series has been, how critical was it for you to have that four-run inning the bottom of the first before coming back for the second?
GERRIT COLE: That was helpful for sure. It just allows you to continue to stay creative through the early part of the game. And it just kind of allows you to just kind of roll that first pitch over from Sogard off your shoulder a little bit. And it’s always good to get the crowd engaged early.
And these guys have been battling all series. I mean, one guy after the next guy after the next guy after the next guy. Kevin Cash probably got like 15 miles in walking back and forth to the mound this series. And so they’ve had to grind. It was really quality arms and it was tough for them.
And so to see them kind of break through, it was good not only just for the team morale, but it was also good, like I said, for the pitching side, as well.
Q. For both of you, Yankees-Astros, have sort of felt inevitable since Opening Day. What do you think about facing the Yankees now? Both of you, please.
ALEX BREGMAN: They’ve got a really good team. So do we. I think exactly what you said, but first off the Rays pitching staff was unbelievable to face. I mean, I think the only time the ball looked that small was opening weekend of the year when we faced them. So they were really, really good. It was a really good test.
But it’s going to be a battle. They’ve got a great team. They hit the ball out of the ballpark. They’ve got good pitching. It’s very similar to our team. Both teams are a little banged up during the year and persevered until we got to the ALCS, and we get to match up with them again. It was an unbelievable series we had with them during the regular season. It’s going to be fun, man. It’s going to be a blast.
I’ll tell you this, I love Minute Maid Park. And when it’s like this, it’s incredible. From the first pitch to the last I think some people — I know my mom was standing the entire game. I loved it.
GERRIT COLE: Yeah, the Yankees, obviously are a formidable squad. The AL East, we all know what that division poses with the reigning World Champions, and obviously the Tampa Bay Rays hanging in there.
They’ve got a lot of talent, a boatload of talent. It’s just kind of how they’re always made. They’re very stoic. They grind out a lot of at-bats. It’s going to be a tough matchup.
I do just want to take the opportunity to touch on something that Breggie said about the Tampa Bay Rays, what a classy series, man. They grinded so hard. They gave us such a good fight.
Like I said, it was — we got hit in the face twice and we needed the second one to respond the way we wanted to respond, and even then they still were trading blows with us tonight.
So when you advance you’re elated, you have a champagne shower, and you think about all the hard work you’ve put in. But at the same time your opponent has done the same thing. Those guys were grinding in the offseason, they were grinding all year through a bunch of injuries, coming back and getting guys healthy, taking a lot of time off of the DL, that’s tough. A lot of credit to them for really just such a good brand of baseball. It was a pleasure to fight with them for five games.
Q. Gerrit, Alex just mentioned the crowd. Game 2 you had the extended ovation at the end, tonight you took your cap off to the crowd. The second you got two strikes they were yelling for the third one. What have these two games been like for you just being a part of this, and seeing this crowd get into it as heavily as they have?
GERRIT COLE: Again, I’m using the same answer I used last time: This is why we fought all year for 162 games. They come out in droves all year to support us. They’re a baseball-savvy town. They understand big pitches. They understand big plays. And they love to bring the energy.
I mean, our job is — I mean, we’re baseball players, we have to go to work. But when it all boils down, we’re just a bunch of kids out there having fun trying to entertain people.
With a lot of the inclement weather that came at the end of the year, just to be able to bring some joy to some people that maybe are hurting, to bring some joy to some people that have spent their hard-earned money to come to these games, that’s what we play for.
Q. Alex, you were part of that rally in the first inning. It looked like you guys might have been on to something with Glasnow. Was he tipping any of his pitches or did you guys detect something in him that you were able to jump on him?
ALEX BREGMAN: No, no, no. He’s as tough to face as anybody, I think if you went around and asked everybody on our team. It was just a team approach today. It was just one at-bat after another. I think Springer’s at-bat to lead off the game to give us that first guy on was one of the biggest hits of our season. Then you see Brantley do it, and Springer go first to third, and use our athleticism we have. And then Altuve gets a big hit to drive in the first run, break the ice. And then Brantley went first to third and that made my job easy hitting a fly ball, and was fortunate it stayed on the line, actually, and found some grass.
But the ball that Glasnow throws, that cutter, the four-seam cutter that he throws is unbelievable. His breaking ball goes from your head to your toes quick. So I feel like with him you just had to pick a pitch and try to put a pretty good swing on it.
Q. This is for both of you guys. How conscious are you both of the fact that this team has something special within its grasp? And on the way to the park tonight, did you think at all about the fact that you had to get through tonight in order to achieve that?
ALEX BREGMAN: I’ll tell you, when I was driving to the ballpark I was with my dad and I was nervous as hell. But when I walked in the clubhouse door it was game time and everybody was fired up and we were loose and having a good time doing what we normally do.
And I think what you said, this team is special, and the reason that we’re special is because different guys step up every single night. Yeah, if one guy goes off we’re probably going to win. Gerrit went off twice this series.
Q. Congratulations. Pretty sure after tonight you’re going to be focused on New York Yankees, but is it a relief that Dodgers is not in the game anymore?
ALEX BREGMAN: No.
GERRIT COLE: No. Did you see the Nationals?
ALEX BREGMAN: They’re legit. They’re legit. The Nationals got three legit starters, similar to what the Stros have. We were in the same Spring Training complex so we face them all the time. Tell you what, it was no shock that they won that series. We know what they’ve got. They’re good.
GERRIT COLE: They’re good.
ALEX BREGMAN: Cardinals are good, too, so are the Braves. Everybody that’s left are good. Comes down to how plays the best baseball. And I like how we played team baseball today.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports